How difficult will be to replace the laser tube? A video tutorial NOW would be appreciated


#1

I’m quite lost in all the topics about it. I skipped the update with the “tubegate” and so I just found that there won’t be an “easy plug in kit” for replacing the laser tube.

So…how difficult will it be for us mortals to change this tube? I really, really can’t think to send back from Europe to Seattle my Glowforge in the next 2 years (and payng for that 500$ over the shipping after the warranty will expire).

It would be a real PRO for me to see someone at glowforge making a video of himself changing the tube, in order to let me understand if that would be something I’m capable of.

As it seems we’re arriving near and near the moment in which also the international owners will have to “accept” the delivery, but not knowing this part with precision it’s really worrisome…


#2

Unfortunately Dan has refused to say even whether alignment is required after tube replacement or not. Are glass tube envelopes accurate enough that you can just drop one in and expect it to line up exactly the same way as the old one, I don’t know? I do know that the factory alignment seems to use a precision shim to line up the block with the first two mirrors. Will we need a set of shims?

Another downer is that Dan has said we should not remove the two glass ends as it is likely to affect factory alignment. I don’t think it is possible to change the tube without removing them.


#3

I think @dan should really answer this before asking us to accept the delivery. That’s not something to shield behind a “no comment”. I find unbeliavable that they don’t know it yet after years of project/production…


#4

Of course they know how to replace tubes in their own machine, they just don’t want to say until we have accepted delivery.


#5

If they say (and by “they” I mean @dan) “It’s something an electrician could do without problem, but not you” for me it’s ok. No problem in buying the replacement parts and then asking for a skilled/professional electrician here in Italy to do the job.

Still a less costly and dangerous solution than sending a 4.5K $ machine from Milan to Seattle and back.


#6

well…that’s called a scam here, and it’s punishable by law even after a trade agreement…so I don’t think it’s the case with Glowforge.


#7

Here is a video showing what is required for a conventional laser cutter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBtMBGnp5pw


#8

I would also like to see an update on this. In the update to the update thread, I think Dan mentioned that there should be more info before international units ship, which seems imminent.

That said, I don’t think you’ll ever get glowforge to say how difficult it is. Thats subjective. If they say its not that hard, and then you attempt it because of that and it goes wrong, they might be liable for that.

I’m not sure an electrician would be the right person, but if you’re happy to hire someone then I think you’ll be totally fine. I can’t imagine the process is going to be fundamentally harder than replacing the tube in another machine. Someone qualified to that should be able to do this.

The question is really if it will be a lot easier.


#9

Well - just saying clearly that it will be similar to that (in the video posted before there’s nothing impossible) would be appreciated. If there’s something that could be easily broken/corrupted even by a technician (thus the need to have to send back the machine to the HQ in Seattle for a replacement), selling a replacement part is almost useless.


#10

There is at least one way in which it is significantly different. That is, there may not be a way to do it such that it keeps the factory captured data accurate. In which case, changing the tube may cause unrecoverable camera alignment issues even when done by a trained pro. Glowforge themselves can use the granite slabs and calibration data capture that they use at manufacture, but they’ve explicitly said that there isn’t another way to recover that part other than send it back.


#11

Well…that’s why I’d like a clear statement.

  1. Repair at your own risk (and the risk is high)?
  2. Repair only if you know what you’re doing (and hiring a technician is good enough)?
  3. It’s easy, you can do it yourself but don’t blame us if you screw everything?
  4. Don’t even try 'cause it’s impossible and just send it back (and that would probably be a farewell for me…).

I cannot believe they haven’t still figured it out now with so many US units around and the international shipping at their doorstep…


#12

Better to describe (at the least a rough outline) what is involved replacing the tube and then let individuals decide if they are comfortable or not doing it.

  • How do we drain the tube to avoid coolant spillage?
  • Do we need to take the glass ends off the case and will it really spoil the camera calibration?
  • How are the coolant pipes connected? (looks like heatshrink to me).
  • How are the EHT connections made? (plugs or tied on with PTFE tape and sealed with silicone)
  • Will the beam need to be aligned afterwards?
  • How will we update tube power calibration data in the cloud?

#13

Yeah, absolutely. This is something that definitely needs to be updated, and something they said they would have more info on.

In the US, worst case scenario is $500, essentially. We knew that when we agreed to shipping. For international customers, worst case scenario is a huge question mark. Personally, I’d be way more worried about this than I would about the replacement stuff people have been discussing. The warranty replacement stuff will affect some people. But this will effect everyone; Your glowforge might arrived damaged, but its definitely going to need the tube replaced.


#14

If they don’t provide a way to recover the calibration then their answer to Tubegate is not an answer at all - “we’ll let you replace it but the machine won’t work well after you do”. A user replaceable tube needs to result in a machine that operates substantially the same as it did before the tube needed to be replaced.


#15

I don’t see how the tube can be replaced without dis-assembling the unit, can you? It runs almost the full length of the machine so I don’t think it is possible to remove it without taking the entire top off.


#16

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this isn’t even going to be an issue for you since you are planning to pass on your GF and build your own laser that does everything you want it to? I would think at that point you would be able to assist people on the generalities of changing out a laser tube over in the UK at least, and that might be very helpful.


#17

Does this matter?

I took delivery of mine, and I would like to know the answer to the question, as I am sure others would.


#18

Absolutely – and I think it was promised that instructions and etc. would be developed to guide folks in their own replacements. I think given the length of the warranty, GF still has some time to get around to this.

Weren’t you in the process of reverse engineering your GF to see how it works and develop your own methods of achieving somethings you didn’t feel were very well done and some goals you have in mind for it? Has that work come up with any helpful ideas about how folks might replace their own tube?


#19

The length of the warranty is not the issue. Internationals need to know the answers to these questions before they accept shipment.


#20

Yes if I make my own I will know exactly how to replace the tube and re-align it. I have already linked a video earlier in the thread that show the generalities of replacing a tube but it is the GF specifics that the OP needs.

I can’t see how Dan’s post doesn’t mean home replacement isn’t actually possible due to the need to redo the factory calibration.